New Books for 7th & 8th Graders
Reading Levels: Grades 6+
In a complicated post-WWIV world ravaged by a fatal, incurable disease, Earth is separated into independently ruled Commonwealths, completely separated from the Lunars, a somewhat new species spawned from previous moon colonization.
Cinder is a second-class citizen at best. She's indentured to her step-mother, and a gifted mechanic, but a cyborg. Over 36% robotic, Cinder relies on a robotic hand, foot, nervous system, and more - to stay alive. Despite this supposed (and mostly unknown) handicap, however, Cinder is the best mechanic in New Bejing, a reputation that brings the Royal Prince himself to her door with a broken android in need of quick - and quiet - repair.
When Cinder's younger step-sister Peony catches letumosis, the fatal disease that killed Cinder's father and ravaged Earth, everything changes. Furious, Cinder's step-mother sells her cyborg ward into voluntary testing for a letumosis cure - a grim fate, until Cinder's body rejects letumosis and it is discovered that she has a natural immunity. Dr. Erland, letumosis researcher in the royal palace, begins working with Cinder to develop a cure, but their testing reveals dangerous secrets about Cinder's past. In the meantime, Cinder's repairs on the Prince's android cause it to divulge another secret - relating to the relations between the Earth and the Lunars.
When the Emperor himself succumbs to letumosis, the Lunar Queen declares that she will visit the Earth herself to comfort the Prince during his time of mourning - but with recent information Cinder has learned from the Prince's android... it is clear the Queen's motives are anything but comforting.
In a creative, complex sci-fi retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a hint of Anastasia, Meyer creates memorable characters while simultaneously posing difficult questions - what does it mean to be human? What is the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good? When is the sequel coming out?
Three more books are planned in the series.
Reading Level: Grades 5 and up
Bomb reads like an edge-of -your- seat spy novel, but it's all true. It tells of the Herculean effort behind building the bomb, the desperate arms race with Germany that will decide WWII, the heroic efforts of Norwegein resistance fighters, and the spies determined to steal the plans for the Soviet Union. The story of the scientific genius behind the bomb, the politics, the military heroics, and the espionage make this a thrilling read where truth is far more exciting than fiction.
Reading Level: Grades 5-7
The Dark Lord, Master of the Legions of Dread, Sorcerer Supreme and Lord of the Darklands is confused. One moment he was leading his legions against the White Wizard Hasdruban the Pure and the next he is falling out of his world into a strange land where he is trapped in the body of a puny human.
The stunned Dark Lord can barely talk or move, he is whisked away in a strange screaming conveyance to a steel citadel where he is questioned by humans who, mistaking his clear answer that his name is “Dark Lord," dub him Dirk Lloyd and send him to a foster home.
Christopher Purejoie is perfectly happy as an only child. He certainly never asked for a foster brother….especially not a crazy one. Chris does have to admit that Dirk is funny, like when Dirk marches into 7th grade English and announces to Mrs. Batelakes, “I am the Great Lord Dirk, you may call me master!”
So who is Dirk Lloyd? A delusional child who needs intensive psychiatric treatment? A smart-mouthed trouble maker who needs to be straightened out by Principal Grousammer? A funny kid who disrupts classes every day? Or an exiled villian desperate to return to his powers?
Books by Jamie Thomson
For more reading on the dark side try:
The Cloak Society by Jeremy Kraatz
The Vindico by Wesley King and
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
Reading Level: Grades 6 -8
Scarlett cannot bear the idea of going on an weekend school retreat where she'll have to get dressed in front of the other girls who will see her secondhand store gray underwear. The perfect out seems to appear in the form of some mushrooms that, according to a book she glances at, will make her sick to her stomach. Unfortunately, a slight identification error winds up killing her and her entire family leaving her, a girl who only had four friends in life, an extremely lonely ghost. Then a boy on a ghostly chat room suggests that she kill one or two of her former friends so that she can have companions forever. That's not a terrible idea, is it?
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Driving at break-neck speed past a Cook County Forest Preserve after midnight, late for curfew again, Mike nearly hits a girl who is standing in the middle of the road. His decision to give the hapless hitchhiker a ride home turns into a night spent sitting in a graveyard listening to the ghosts of Chicago area teenagers as tell him the stories of their lives, and deaths.
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has reached the age for Amish teenagers to experience "rumspringa", their wild time, when they must decide whether or not to committ to the Amish way of life. Eliza yearns to spend the summer with the "English" and learn about the modern world. When she is offered the opportunity to be a nanny in the Chicago area it's everything she could wish for, including a romance with a Yankee boy. This is a wonderful look at a unique culture, and yet in many ways, Eliza is just like anyone else trying to find their path in life.
Nancy Grossman is a Highland Park author.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
After Tomas' house burns down, his family moves back to Slovakia where they had lived until Tomas was five and where he had nearly died. Soon after his arrival in his mother's home town he begins to have strange encounters with Slovakian legendary characters. Everyone, from Death herself to a crazy water vampire, known as a vodnik, seems to remember him and want something from him.
Reading Level: Grades 7 and up
Gaby's mother became pregnant with her first child at 14. All of Gaby's seven older brothers and sisters became teen parents as well, but Gaby, who was an unplanned, post-divorce child, is determined to not follow in her family's footsteps. When she needed to design her senior year research project she wondered, how would people react if a hardworking, determined student with a planned out future DID become a teen mother? Thus begins a six month long faked teen pregnancy and social experiment.
Cas, teenage ghost killer, moves to a new town to pursue a tip he's gotten on a murdurous ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood. Cute, personable guy that he is, he quickly gets in with the popular crowd - his plan is to learn as much as he can about Anna - and who tells urban legends better than high schoolers?
Cas doesn't really expect Anna to be any more formidable of a ghost than anything else he's thought. But, of course, Anna is different.
Creepy, spooky, gory... you won't soon forget Anna or her dress of blood.
Similar titles you may enjoy:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
For older readers:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Ivan (The Ape at Exit 8) is a downtrodden, has-been silverback gorilla living in a small, unkept domain within a shopping mall, occasionally accompanied by Bob, a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan's domain through a hole in the glass.
Stella, an aging elephant with a bad foot, dies from lack of treatment after Ruby, a baby elephant purchased from a defunct circus, arrives at the mall. The owner hopes Ruby will jumpstart visitor attendance again. Before Stella dies, she asks Ivan to promise that he will bring Ruby somewhere safe, knowing his devotion to protection of his friends is paramount.
Ivan's poetic narration is honest, painful, and heartbreaking; Applegate's insight into captive animal life is powerful. Don't miss this book, no matter how old you are.